Showing posts from July 17, 2016

What's wrong with Airbnb?

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[Answer: plenty if you're poor. *RON*]

Posted by Frances Woolley, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, 15 July 2016

Airbnb undermines the distinction between short-term, "hotel", accommodation and and long-term, "apartment" accommodation. Some people seem to figure this is a bad thing. New York State legislators, for example, have passed legislation imposing heavy fines on anyone listing their entire apartment on Airbnb or a similar service. But what – if anything – is wrong with what Airbnb is doing?

The distinction between hotels and apartments has always been artificial. Even before Airbnb, people turned their homes into bed and breakfasts, and other types of small hotels. Similarly, hotels have been used for long-term accommodation, either by individuals choosing hotels as their long-term residence, or by companies who have converted whole hotels into student residences or assisted living facilities.

The artificial segrega…

A Cheerleader for Globalization Has Second Thoughts

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[81% of US households experienced flat or falling incomes over the last decade, and other advanced economies showed similar distressing figures: a weighted average of the 25 wealthiest countries found that 65-70 percent of households saw no rise in their wages or capital income. The Bloomberg article doesn't mention that Swedish social democracy is cited as a positive example, noting that the government intervened to preserve jobs during the global turndown and that market incomes subsequently fell or were flat for only 20 percent of households. In addition, disposable income 'advanced for almost everyone.' *RON*]

Peter Coy, Bloomberg, 14 July 2016
A new study from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that changes in the world economy have left many people worse off.

For years, the McKinsey Global Institute has been leading the charge for globalization, publishing research on the virtues of free trade, open data flows, cross-border inv…

Protecting those who need it least

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[Protecting the vulnerable is 'protectionism'; protecting the powerful is 'enlightened opposition'. Scott Vrooman on how defending the environment and the weak became anathema. *RON*]

Ministers from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales vow to fight Westminster austerity measures

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[One stream of the Brexit narrative is framing it as being firmly based on opposition to austerity. *RON*]

Belfast Telegraph, 11 July 2016

Finance ministers from the UK's three devolved administrations have pledged to fight Westminster austerity measures resulting from Brexit.

Northern Ireland finance minister Mairtin O Muilleoir held talks in Cardiff on Monday with his counterparts from Wales and Scotland, Mark Drakeford and Derek Mackay.

They are seeking an urgent meeting with Chancellor George Osborne in a bid to avoid further public spending cuts or savings and protect EU funding.

They said: "We are determined to act resolutely to protect the interests of all our people, especially against further austerity policies that might be considered as a consequence of the referendum result.

"This is particularly relevant in the context of the majority vote in both Scotland and the North of Ireland to remain within the EU."

They urged th…

Productivity Is Slowing and Inequality Is Growing. Here’s What’s Causing it.

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[Productivity is often mistakenly equated with 'worker productivity.' Here it is shown that lower productivity is associated with higher rent-seeking behavior (the unproductive use of resources to capture monopoly profits and/or unearned benefits from beneficial government regulation) and both are associated with higher inequality. *RON*]

By Jason Furman, Evonomics,

Productivity growth—a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for rising incomes in the long run—has slowed since 1973, growing at a 1.8 percent annual rate, as compared to a 2.8 percent annual rate in the 25 years prior to 1973. At the same time, inequality in the United States is higher and, in recent decades, has risen faster than in other major advanced economies. In 2014, the top 1 percent captured 18 percent of income, up from 8 percent in 1973. These two major trends have been the major causes of the slowdown in income growth for the median household.

Meet the ‘Little People’: Those Punished for Far Less Than What Clinton Did